| Helen Sharp
Case study: Community Circles
Community Circles help people be happier, healthier and more connected with the support of those around them. This is a concept that the Ideas Hub has championed through sharing many stories and case studies, such as Keyring and SolvaCare. Community Circles help to create a circle of support around someone for a particular purpose; it may be to meet new people, get practical support, feel stronger, connecting back to pastimes such as the love of music or poetry; no two circles are alike. The circle is supported by a facilitator who helps the focus person and their friends and family’s conversation move to action.
The facilitator is a volunteer from the local community who will often be matched to the focus person through shared interests and they help to identify who should be involved in the circle. The circle meets every month and can be held anywhere – someone’s home, in a church, temple or school, cafe or pub – wherever the person is comfortable and is a safe place to talk.
Time is the most valuable thing people can offer (Kevin Reeves, parent and Circle member)
Meetings are often an intimate gathering of family and friends, where facilitators are invited into the heart of a family, where all contributions are valued, where positive changes can be made. Friendships based on history and shared interests share stories and laughter. This is an experience far removed from professional case reviews and care management meetings.
To help everyone plan the actions and to work together to support the person at the heart of the Circle, Community Circles have partnered with RallyRound, a free website and app designed to help people keep track of things that need doing.
Everyone in the circle gains by being part of something shared, focused and often life changing. The focus person receives the help and support that is just right for them and the people in the circle know that they have made a real difference to someone’s life.
There’s more information about how the Community Circle works on this video – take a look – it’s such a simple and brilliant idea.
Photo by Ethan Weil